"Did the resistance attack?"
Those last couple of chapters were intense. I was all over the place with emotions and I'm just so very glad that I only have to wait eight days (six now) to read the sequel! YAY FOR NOT HAVING TO WAIT VERY LONG!
It took me a lot to get through the first part of the book. I didn't feel engaged and I couldn't relate or care for the characters at first, so I kind of dropped the book for a while (a couple of months, to be honest.)But man, oh man, once I pushed through that I couldn't stop. Dem characters really grow on you and towards the end there was SO much going on, I was excited, and afraid, and praying for the best because things started really going downhill for every single character so, so fast.
Laia, Elias, Izzi, Cook, Cain and Keenan were definitely my favorite. And in her own awful way, so was Keris (She's just so HORRIBLE, I can't help but to wonder what she'll do next and I kind of wonder what happened to her that turned her into such an awful person).
Laia... Laia was so real. Such a down-to-earth MC. It was refreshing seeing a dystopia "heroine" being so self-aware of what she could and could not do. I loved that she knew her limits and wasn't stupid when taking risks. It was easy relating to her as you got to know her. She was scared, she was out of her depth and SHE KNEW IT. She acted the way I probably would in a situation like that.
Elias was a very adorable character all in all. When you think about everything he's had to go through you begin to truly appreciate the young man that he became. Someone, who despite all the horrible things he's had to do, still retains his humanity and can tell right from wrong even in his messed up, upside-down world.
I'll just get this out of the way and say why I had to take off one star off my rating. I admit some of these reasons, if not all, are highly subjective but they bothered me enough that I couldn't overlook them.
1) The alternating POV's. Okay. This alone isn't a bad thing but it was particularly jarring (especially for someone who is having a hard time getting through the first chapters) to have to switch POV's just when the POV you're reading about is getting interesting. There were SO MANY chapters with cliffhangers at the end and every time I was forced to forget them for a little while to read about some unrelated thing happening to the other character.
2) Elias POV for 40% of the book was incredibly boring? YES. I know a lot of people say it was in his POV that most of the action happened, but to me I just had to force myself to read through most of them when all I wanted was to go back to Laia's POV. I think reason #3 had a lot to do as to why I just wasn't that fond of Elias' chapters at first.
3) The romantic mess. Man, I don't know what to say about this. It wasn't actually too bad, and was in fact handled much better than I expected, but at the same time it became a little annoying at times (Especially with Hel. She and Elias had ZERO chemistry and most of their 'moments' were cringe-worthy. They're an amazing team and great friends, but I don't think they'd work as a couple. And Helene just irritated me.) . Laia and Elias' feelings were all over the place, I actually laughed at their poor confused thoughts when it came to what/who they wanted. I've got to admit though, that the author had me jumping ships so much that I'm probably as confused as Laia is. I just think Laia has a good chemistry with both Keenan and Elias. It's hard to choose, damnit.
4) Helene. I.wasn't.a.fan.of.Helene. There, I said it. I know she's a fan favorite but God, she's so narrow-minded, she's practically a zealot when it comes to the Augurs. She had the opportunity to change things for herself and for Elias and she just froze at the most inconvenient of times. There was one scene or two where Helene could've put an end to their problems (change her "fate") and she let the opportunity pass her by because that wasn't what the damn Augurs had foretold. She was so smart and yet so stupid when it came to her beliefs. I admit she was badass and that I liked how loyal she could be. But that's about it. I also wasn't a fan of her disturbingly possessive behavior when it came to Elias. The woman was all over the place with her jealous outbursts and "hurt feelings" when Elias didn't act the way she wanted. I don't hate her but I'm just not a fan, and I honestly have to say I don't much care about her character. Hopefully the next book will help me like her a little bit more.
5) Last but not least (this one is probably really stupid but it kept bothering me) The MASKS. I could not picture those damned things because the descriptions of them were so vague and basically the same.
"Beneath the silver mask that covers me from forehead to jaw, my face should be unreadable"
"The strange metal of his namesake clings to him from forehead to jaw like silver paint, revealing every feature of his face, from the thin eyebrows to the hard angles of his cheekbones."
So I'm supposed to believe the mask covers their entire face (or most of it), and YET, there were somescenes where they described someone's eyebrows (More specifically, Elias', but since his mask hasn't melded, how could his friends make fun of his "thick eyebrows" if they weren't visible underneath the mask???), or their stuble, and that one scene where Elias touched Helene's cheek...
"I put a hand against her cold cheek, rubbing a circle over the skin with my thumb."
The skin? We know for a FACT that Helene's mask has melded with her. So... either the author forgot to explain something here or when your mask melds with you you're just silver-faced but the mask isn't really there anymore and people can feel YOUR SKIN "through" the "mask". Otherwise, how is it posible for Elias to touch her cheek and feel her skin?
In short, THAT DAMN MASK DIDN'T MAKE ANY SENSE AND I WANT SOMEONE TO DRAW ME A PICTURE BECAUSE MY DUMB BRAIN CAN'T GRASP THESE VAGUE-ASS DESCRIPTIONS. I'm thinking it doesn't cover your mouth or your chin ( that it's actually some sort of half mask and that's why they could see Elias' stuble even if he was wearing it) but then why make it a point to tell us that the mask melds with your entire face? or that (in Elias' case) his features are unreadable under his mask. I just... I want a picture of these masks.
All of the above aside, the book was fantastic. I'd definetily recommend to any fan of dystopia/fantasy. The characters are amazing, the writing is good, and there are several great scenes that will have you at the edge of your seat.
SIX MORE DAYS FOR THE RELEASE OF THE NEXT BOOK "A torch against the night" !!!
Random favorite quote:
"I touch my neck, which stings something fierce. My hands come away with blood. Does this mean I'll have a severed head in the afterlife, I wonder stupidly. Seems a bit unfair..."